Julio Cruceta smoldering; Pitching rules the day

Brian Sweeney earned a victory against Randy Johnson pitching for the Padres. Dennis Tankersley won his own contest with the help of hot-hitting Tagg Bozied. Mobile and Lake Elsinore were off. Sean Thompson kept with the strong pitching performance theme. Fort Wayne is an impressive 5-1 to open the second half of play. Eugene had its game postponed. Two words in Arizona: Julio Cruceta.

Brian Sweeney, a starter with Portland the majority of the season, picked up a win in his first start for the Padres in a faceoff with Diamondbacks ace Randy Johnson, giving up a run on four hits in 5.1 innings.

Portland won 5-3

Dennis Tankersley pitched 7.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits with five K's. It was the longest outing of the season for the right-hander as he racked up a win for the fourth consecutive decision.

Mike Bynum had been save-less over his last 31 appearances. On Tuesday he got his second save of the year, coming in his team leading 37th game.

Tagg Bozied continued his assault on the ball with a homer and four RBI's. Over the last 30 days, Bozied has had five games with four or more RBI's and has knocked in at least one run in 15 of the 30 games, totaling 34 RBI's for the month.

Mobile and Lake Elsinore had the night off

Fort Wayne won 4-2

Jordan Pickens, second on the team in RBI's, was held 13 games without one until Tuesday when he singled in a run in the third inning. After struggling through a 4-for-48 stretch, Pickens has four hits in his last three games.

Take away a stretch of seven games where Aaron Coonrod allowed 15 earned runs, he has pitched well. In 21 other appearances Coonrod has allowed just three earned runs. He has been victimized by errors that have resulted in eight of his last nine runs scored against him. On Tuesday Coonrod pitched a perfect eighth inning, his fifth outing without allowing a walk or hit on the year.

Leo Rosales notched his ninth save of the year. He has had an ERA of under 2.00 for 19 of his 23 appearances on the year and his ERA sits at 1.42 in 25.1 innings.

Sean Thompson went seven innings and gave up two runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out nine. It was the third time this year that he has lasted seven innings with the other two times amounting to scoreless efforts. Thompson has allowed two runs or less in ten of his 14 starts. The lefthander has not allowed more than four runs in any start.

Daniel Moore is back throwing in Peoria in extended spring training. He is expected to be back in someone's lineup in the next few weeks but it may not be Fort Wayne.

Eugene had its game postponed

Arizona League Padres won 7-5

Julio Cruceta is hardly leaving room for anyone else to be talked about. He had another three-hit night, his second in a row, and he has already had two four-hit nights this year. He is 16-for-29 over his first six games with hits in each and has driven in 11 runs over his last five games. Oh, and he has also stolen two bases this year. By contrast, in 2003 he had 15 RBI's in 46 games and hit .234 for Idaho Falls.

Yordany Ramirez has four triples over his last three games and is one of the other hot hitters to start off the 2004 campaign. He was 3-for-5 with two triples, a stolen base and three RBI's on Tuesday. Ramirez is 12-for-26, has seven RBI's in his last three games and four stolen bases on the season. Ramirez had knocked in ten in his previous two years playing for Idaho Falls. He also never had a triple entering this year.

Rusty Tucker was back in his customary role, closing out games. Tucker allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth to notch his first save of the year. He has been seen in four of the six games played this year by the squad.

Luke Steidlmayer, on a rehab loan from Fort Wayne, was smacked around in his second outing. He gave up four runs on six hits and a walk in two innings of work. His first time out was a three inning scoreless outing.

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